Editorial: On rent regulations and politics

To say this has been a big week for tenants would be the understatement of the century. However, we’ll say it anyway. While the fine print in this epic tenant protection bill is still being examined with a fine-toothed comb, it is nonetheless safe to say that these are no token reforms like the minimal improvements in 2011 and 2015. They are incredibly significant in terms of the ways tenants will be protected from price-gouging.

Additionally, we agree with TenantsPAC’s Michael McKee who pointed out that this victory could not have been achieved without the work of die-hard activists like those in the Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village Tenants Association. It was the tireless efforts of these individuals, combined with a city of renters dead tired of being given the shakedown, that helped turn the State Senate blue, giving long-stalled bills a chance to pass.

Civil Court judge primary
In other news, don’t forget to vote on June 25 as there will be a Democratic primary election for Civil Court judge representing the fourth municipal court district. (This is the area comprised of Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village, Gramercy, Waterside and Kips Bay.)

In recent issues of this newspaper, we’ve run interviews with both candidates, veteran attorneys Grace Park and Lynne Fischman-Uniman. Since we ran the profile of Fischman-Uniman, we’ve been contacted by a few readers who wanted to know why it wasn’t mentioned that up until fairly recently the Democratic candidate was a registered Republican. The answer is we didn’t know as she didn’t mention it.

She did, however, confirm this when we asked, saying she was until after the presidential primary in 2016, after learning at the poll that she couldn’t vote for her candidate of choice, Hillary Clinton, because she was a Republican. So she’s been a Democrat ever since. It was not, her campaign manager stressed to us, out of a desire to run for judge since she hadn’t been aware of any opening for that at the time.

It is of course well known that in this town, a Republican candidate, even a qualified one, wouldn’t stand a chance of being elected dog catcher, so it’s not surprising to hear one would convert to the Democratic party.

As for whether her former party should matter to voters, this is up to each individual. But it is worth noting that judges, unlike other elected officials, don’t vote on legislation. They decide cases based on their knowledge of the law and a sixth sense about what it means to be fair and impartial. Ideally politics shouldn’t enter into it.

Both candidates, from what we have seen, seem more than qualified to become a judge. In each’s resume, there are many years in the field of law, coupled with volunteer work and a desire to help the underdog. It is refreshing to say we don’t think voters can go wrong either way. But whoever you choose, the turnout for this race is expected to be quite low, so vote. It really will count.

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